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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11314

Mr NEVILLE (HinklerThe Nationals Deputy Whip) (12:51): I am a practical conservationist. The sorts of things I do include getting salvinia and water hyacinth removed from creeks that have clogged up. I have birds that fly between Australia and Russia on a seasonal basis monitored. I want to see the mouth of a river that is slowly silting up reopened properly by the closure of a secondary mouth. I do things like that. So I get offended when anyone who opposes the carbon tax is criticised, chastised and berated for supposedly being a climate change denier. We are howled down, ignored and ridiculed for holding different opinions from the architects of the carbon tax, who—might I say with great piety—say that they want the debate based on the facts. Well, they do not base their arguments on the facts.

A couple of recent events prove that they are more than prepared to use blatant scaremongering and wild exaggeration to sway Australians. Let me outline an example for you. One of my constituents in Hervey Bay recently received an unsolicited begging letter from Senator Christine Milne of the Greens. My constituent was most upset to receive this letter—they have never been Greens supporters—and they did not understand why they had been targeted by the party. I believe the letter was sent in error, as the text was clearly intended for distribution in South Australia. Along with spelling errors, its content was most disturbing.

In her letter Senator Milne made some outrageous statements clearly designed to frighten the recipients. On page 1 of the letter she says that people have been fleeing Somalia because of climate change. I would suggest that a failed government and rampant violence is the reason most people are fleeing Somalia. While I acknowledge that there has been drought and famine, the failure of government to properly distribute food to those people has been a major factor.

On page 2 of the five-page mail-out Senator Milne says:

We know time is running out—in just a decade, without effective adaptation, heat-related deaths in South Australia are projected to double.

I seriously doubt the veracity of that statement. It is certainly not supported by the department of climate change, the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO and others who say that, even in a worst case scenario, the temperature of a South Australian summer may go up by just 1.5 degrees by 2030.

I would also argue that the much higher electricity costs which will flow from the Labor and Greens carbon tax are exactly what will contribute to deaths, as a lot of older people will be too scared to turn on their air-conditioning plants because of the increased costs of electricity. That is when people are going to die, not because of what Senator Milne suggests with her rampant scaremongering. On every single page of this widely distributed letter there are pleas to donate money to the Greens so that they can build up a war chest of $100,000 by the end of the month. In a neat aside at the end of the letter, Senator Milne claims:

… some of Australia's richest people helped bring down a Prime Minister with a $22 million advertising campaign against the mining tax. Don't let them use these tactics to get their way again.

It was not the advertising campaign which brought down the Prime Minister. It was the factions within the Labor Party. The overnight removal of the Prime Minister came because he abandoned, amongst other things, his CPR Scheme after the dismal performance at the Copenhagen forum and because of things like ceiling insulation and other government disasters that shook confidence in his administration. So I find this sort of thing, frightening people in my electorate, offensive. I say to the Greens: leave my people alone; you got one of your lowest votes in Australia in my electorate. My people can make good judgments, and they do not need to be scared by outrageous claims, and this is especially offensive when it is directed at older people. (Time expired)